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The Adventure Continues

by Cynthia Fazekas

Where will the leaves take us?

Five years ago my tea journey took a turn. After many years with the now defunct SpecialTeas and in need of a change, I'd considered leaving tea altogether with the notion of seeking new challenges. A mutual friend and client was kind enough to connect me to Adagio Teas prior to making that somewhat hasty exit from the world of tea.

The five-year mark is a good point in time to stop briefly and take a look around. The tea industry has continued to grow even with the economy taking a sharp southerly detour and a bumpy ride along the way. Some tea companies have come and gone and more crop up regularly, but those who have been at it awhile probably see what I see: A slow steady growth in tea awareness and popularity.

Some of this is surely due to the ubiquity of Teavana stores in malls around the US. While they have squeezed some small teashops out of the malls they inhabit, their presence does make the average everyday shopper aware that better teas are available.

Another contributing factor is the media's love of health news. Most of us fell in love with tea because of its gourmet appeal, so finding out about the plethora of health benefits was just icing on the already delicious cake. The media loves to talk about things that are good and bad for you, even if based on ill begotten "research." The better research has thankfully fallen into the hands of the medical professionals who can now tell people, "Just have some tea – it IS good for you." Which brings us to acknowledging the mighty Dr Oz. Pu Erh, White Tea, herbals, he seems to cover at least one tea a week on his popular show and is an advocate for their health enhancing properties. His continuous mentions of tea are certainly boosting sales and increasing awareness.

Social Media has also been kind to tea. Tea aficionados have been able more easily find kindred spirits out there in cyber space. There they share favorite teas, brewing methods and vendors, while building communities and resources.

Overall, getting a decent cup of tea in the modern US has never been easier. When I joined the tea world, this was my wish. Of course, there is still a long way to go before tea is on par with wine or even coffee as an everyday drink for the mainstream consumer but for the most part, we are really getting there!